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Promoting the tourism potential of Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark

Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark is a recognition of the international community for Cao Bang's efforts in particular and Vietnam's in general in conserving and promoting the precious natural resources. However, in order to attract a large number of visitors to Cao Bang, the geopark needs to really become a core of the province's tourism development strategy.

The geopark, with a total area of 3300 km² locating in 7 districts, has over 130 international-value unique geological heritage sites such as limestone cones, valleys, caves, and an interconnected underground lake-river-cave system. In addition, there are many famous landscape attractions such as Phia Oac, Phia Den and Ban Gioc waterfall - one of the four largest and most beautiful border falls in the world. In addition to unique geological features, this is also a land of cultural and historical thickness with more than 200 ranked cultural and historical relics including 3 special national monuments and 23 national monuments. This place is also considered the base of the Vietnamese revolution during the resistance war against the French colonialists.

Traditional water wheels) on Quay Sơn river, Trung Khanh, district, Cao Bang province

Along with preserving and promoting the values of geological, cultural and historical heritage within the geopark, for many years, Cao Bang has set the goals associated with sustainable tourism development.  In phase 1, Cao Bang has completed the construction of the Geopark in accordance with UNESCO criteria. In the coming time, UNESCO consultants will be invited to formulate an overall development plan to ensure the linkage with sustainable development to maximize the available values of the geological park, focusing on strengthening infrastructure investment and developing partner as well as product system to ensure livelihoods improvement for local people”.

Cao Bang province focuses on exploiting three main experience routes in the geological park area including the western route "Experience Phia Oac - the mountains of transformations" (in Nguyen Binh), the northern route "Experience history and freedom" (in Hoa An and Ha Quang) and the eastern route "Experience traditional cultures in a wonderland” (in Trung Khanh, Quang Hoa and Ha Lang). The above-mentioned routes are expected to bring visitors special experiences about the land, culture and locals in the north of the country.

In a recent workshop, Ms. Pham Le Thao, Deputy Director of Travel Management Department said “UNESCO's recognition of the Non Nuoc Cao Bang global geological park is not only important for with Cao Bang province but also an honor and great pride for Vietnam, which contributes to the development of tourism industry nationwide. To develop tourism based on the potential and unique advantages of the Global Geopark, Cao Bang needs to take advantage of domestic and international support and cooperation, making it an attractive destination”.

A rock stilt house in Khuoi Ky village, Dam Thuy commune, Trung Khanh district

Assessing and promoting the value of the unique geological heritage of the Geopark to domestic and international visitors is an essential task that Cao Bang Province is trying to do. At the same time, how to involve local people in the development and conservation is not an easy task. Assessing Cao Bang's efforts in exploiting natural advantages and developing sustainable tourism, said Mr. Michael Croft, UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam, “We were also informed by the geopark Management Board that the number of visitors to Cao Bang is increasing. Despite having great potential for tourism development, we also need to look forward to sustainable tourism development. The Geopark is a complex of geological, cultural, landscape and community elements living in and around the area, so it must be a harmonious combination of integrated development".

With the incentives that nature has granted, authorities, the locals and businesses in Cao Bang are accompanying to promote tourism development potential to attract more and more domestic and international visitors to Cao Bang, making it one of the most favorite mountainous attractions in Vietnam.